Omar says ready for Governor''s rule if Hurriyat participates in polls
8 August 2002
The Indian Express
New Delhi: The National Conference president and Union Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said he would back demands for imposition of Governor''s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir if Hurriyat Conference pledged to participate in the ensuing Assembly polls. ''I as the president of the ruling party assure that once such a statement comes from Hurriyat, I will go to the state government and my party and ensure imposition of Governor''s Rule,'' Omar told reporters during an interactive session organised by Indian Women Press Corps. Lashing out at the demands from various political parties including the Congress for imposition of Governor''s Rule, he said, ''Why do you single out the state when it is as much as an integral part of the country like any other state. ''Why not change the constitution whereby article 356 would come into effect automatically in all those states going for polls,'' he said. Referring to the suggestions made by newly formed Kashmir committee headed by former law minister Ram Jethmalani that announcement of polls in the state was a hasty step, omar said ''though the formation of committee is laudable but doesn''t Jethmalani think that his initiative is at least two years late.'' He also dismissed the suggestions of postponement of polls on the pretext of security situation in the state and said ''the situation is not worse than that in 1996 or 1999 when the state went for polls.'' On US Secretary of State Colin Powell''s statement favouring deployment of international observers during the polls, Omar said, ''We have stated in as many words that as many foreign delegates could visit the state and see the polls for themselves. They will not be given an observer status.'' On whether their security would be ensured, Omar said, ''Necessary security will be definitely provided to them.'' To a question about the autonomy talks, Omar said, ''They are progressing well and the second round is likely to be held soon here.'' About his political plans, Omar said, ''My name has figured for contesting the polls but nothing has been finalised as yet. One thing I can say for certain is that I am not resigning from the Union Cabinet at present.''